Regulatory Outlook

Modern slavery | UK Regulatory Outlook February 2024

Published on 28th Feb 2024

Council adopts position on banning products made with forced labour | Final vote on CSDD delayed

Council adopts position on banning products made with forced labour

The Council of the EU has adopted its negotiating mandate on the regulation prohibiting products made with forced labour. The regulation is intended to prohibit all products made with forced labour being placed on an EU market, made available in the EU, or exported from the EU. See more in our Insight.

The Council's mandate introduces several changes to the Commission's proposal. It emphasises the establishment of the Union Network and the creation of a forced labour single portal to facilitate information sharing and access to relevant tools.

The Council's position also strengthens the role of the European Commission in assessing whether products are of Union interest. A “Union interest” is assumed to exist when one or more of the following criteria are met:

  • the scale and severity of suspected forced labour is significant;
  • the risks of suspected forced labour are located outside the territory of the Union;
  • the products concerned have a significant impact on the internal market (they are presumed to have a significant impact when they are present in at least three Member States).

If there is a Union interest, under the Council's mandate, the Commission will automatically take over the pre-investigation phase. Otherwise, the pre-investigation phase will be carried out by a national competent authority.

The Council's position outlines that for inspections in third countries (that is, when inspections are required outside the Union), the Commission contacts third countries to conduct inspections on suspected cases of forced labour. If the third-country government rejects the Commission's request, it may be considered non-cooperation, and the Commission can make a decision based on other evidence.

Negotiations can now begin between the Council and the European Parliament to agree on the final version of the text. 

Final vote on CSDD delayed

Please see ESG.


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* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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